Having always been passionate about sustainable design, the year 2001 saw Chris Knierim leave his life in Australia to learn about the techniques and practices that were being used overseas.
Many years later, he returned to his hometown, but this time armed with a clear vision of an ecological construction model he could tailor to Australian conditions. He dreamed big for his first project, designing his own home, the Forest Lodge Eco House.
Tiny in size (the home sits on land that is just 3.9 metres wide!) Chris has used every inch of the space, creating a comfortable home for four that features solar hot water, solar concrete slab heating, an underground water tank, vertical garden walls, a roof top garden, double glazed windows and many recycled components. “The home has performed beyond expectations,” explains Chris. “Generally, when you design and build for a client you are aware that the house is nice but only living there will tell you how the house truly performs.”
Chris, however isn’t the only one who loves the project, with the Sydney home winning many awards including the recent Master Builders’ Design & Construction Award and the Master Builders’ Environmental Management Award, as well as four international design awards.
Yet while Chris likes getting the personal recognition, he is most excited by the fact that sustainable design is getting the audience it deserves. “Sustainability is of the utmost importance when it comes to construction and design. It’s not a matter of installing four-star taps and thinking you are sustainable. It’s in the planning prior to design when you have to consider not only the aesthetics and the design but also how it will be built and how the building will be built sustainably.”
Chris and the Forest Lodge Eco House were also showcased on Grand Designs Australia. Watch the episode on The Lifestyle Channel here. To find out more about Chris’ firm, Designer Construction, visit their website here.